Review: Fishmansfrags, UK

Since founding the blog, we’ve been thrilled to be invited to a number of retail outlets with a view to bringing you our unique blend of photo shoots and honest, no-nonsense reviews. To date, we’ve focussed mainly on typical ‘shop’ type set-ups and we’ve been most impressed by what we’ve seen in general. For our next review, we turn our attention to a slightly more unconventional operation, but one that’s already built a phenomenal reputation and outlived many of its competitors. Continue reading Review: Fishmansfrags, UK

Secrets Behind Xenias Pulse Revealed

There are few reef-keepers who aren’t familiar with the soft corals of the family Xeniidae. Whether you regard them as an invasive pest or a desirable display organism, there’s no denying that the rhythmic pulsation of their tentacles is unique. However, the actual benefit of this motion has been poorly understood… until now that is.

Using in situ underwater particle image velocimetry, Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have recently discovered that the pulsation motions actually thrust water upward and thereby enhance mixing across the coral–water boundary layer. This induced upward motion effectively prevents refiltration of water by neighboring polyps, while the intensification of mixing, together with the upward flow, greatly enhances the coral’s photosynthesis.

It is suggested that an enhanced understanding of these two processes (expulsion of medium and mixing of solutes) may lead to future applications in engineering and medicine.

Read the paper HERE

Fractal Coral Skeletons Can Cause Vicious Cycle of Bleaching

An interdisciplinary research team from Northwestern University, Illinois and The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago believe they have discovered one reason why climate change is causing some corals die and others not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions.

Publishing their results in the journal PLoS One, the team found that reef-building corals use their own skeletons to scatter light in different ways to boost the symbiotic algae that feed them. Corals that are less efficient at light scattering (possessing skeletons of a high fractality) were observed to be more likely to survive under stressful conditions. Corals whose skeletons scatter light most efficiently have an advantage under normal conditions (and are usually fast growing species), but they suffer the most damage when stressed. In such a case, the limestone skeleton actually amplifies the light so much that remaining algae have to deal with even more light. This creates a vicious cycle forcing more and more algae to leave the coral.

The findings could help predict the response of coral reefs to the stress of increasing seawater temperatures and acidity, helping conservation scientists preserve coral reef health and high biodiversity.

For the full report, click HERE.

Confiscated Shipment Finds A New Home

Hull-based UK Public Aquarium The Deep has recently offered a new home to a number of confiscated corals and clams following their seizure by the UK Border Agency CITES team at Heathrow Airport a number of months ago.

The corals and clams which were seized on arrival from the Cook islands due to invalid CITES documents and have been temporarily housed at London Zoo, but have since been kindly donated to The Deep as their new home.

Katy Duke, Curator at The Deep said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these animals a new home in our coral display which helps to highlight the plight of coral in the wild. Coral reefs face a bleak future as warming sea temperatures are continuing to cause coral bleaching and ocean acidification threatens future growth and recovery of these important ecosystems.

“They are likely to be kept in quarantine for about 1 month before going on show in our coral display. We are currently moving a number of soft corals from here in the Lagoon of Light so these new ones will be a lovely addition.

Review: Blue Treasure SPS Salt

Adding to the range of synthetic salt mixes already available to UK hobbyists, Blue Treasure SPS is a new offering originating from China where it is already stated to be used widely and with success by public aquaria. With this pedigree in mind, we were interested to get our hands on a batch and take our own readings. To be honest it took some effort to put any preconceptions out of our minds and focus on the actual product rather than the brand which we think perhaps isn’t as known or trusted as some of the more established brands here in the UK. Continue reading Review: Blue Treasure SPS Salt

Black Sharks and Super Shoals at Blue Planet

Staff at the Blue Planet Aquarium are excited to announce the arrival of a rare Black Bamboo Shark. Part of a group of six of the tropical species the shark is currently being looked after in a quarantine area before going on show in the main ocean tank in the next few weeks.

In a seperate development, the ‘super shoal’ we reported on back in December last year has just been released into the aquarium’s Main Caribbean Reef exhibit. Rather than consisting of Yellow Tangs and Foxfaces as was original suggested, the shoal consists of over 800 juvenile Ocean Flag tails, Pork fish and Fusiliers.

With a volume of around 3.8 million litres, the display should give them plenty of space for growth. Keep your eyes on the blog as we fully intend to visit this attraction in the coming months.

Freaky Fish Feature At Newquay Aquarium

Although only tiny, a pair of Tetrosomus gibbosus Humpback Turretfish are already stealing the show at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay – but rather than ‘spitting out their dummies’ like human babies, these fish settle for shooting jets of water out of their tank when they want something!

Native to waters around East Africa, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia, this species is also known as the Hunchback Turretfish, Camel-backed Turretfish, Indo-Pacific Trunkfish, Wild Trunkfish, Thornback Trunkfish, Helmet Cowfish, Camel Cowfish, Camel-backed Cowfish, Humpback Boxfish, Thornback Boxfish, Thornbacked Boxfish, Pyramid Boxfish and Hovercraft Boxfish (that’s common names for you!). They are usually found singly on seagrass and weed bottoms of lagoons and coastal reefs where they feed on invertebrates and worms.

Blue Reef Aquarium spokesperson Jenni Smith said: “Although they’re only tiny, they’re particularly impressive. They are so full of character and as soon as people come near the tank, they swim straight over to the glass to have a look.”